2019 Week 2 - That's What Cheese Said

The team had a lot to say about their win against the Minnesota Vikings. While the offense is still looking for sustained success, the defense is firing on all cylinders. 

The Packers improve to 2-0 on the 2019 season, beating two NFC North division rivals in their first two games. 

“Wins aren’t pretty in the NFL but as long as you get that W in the win column, that’s all that matters,” said running back Aaron Jones who had a career-high 23 touches against the Vikings this past Sunday.

Despite the offense putting up 21 points in the first 16 minutes of game action, the day once again belonged to the defense. When the offense failed to sustain drives, the defense came up big when it mattered most. Once again, a Packers defender caught an interception in the corner of the end zone to all but seal the victory. Last week it was Adrian Amos. Against the Vikings it was Kevin King. 

“I think that was the difference of the game,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur. 

Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams recognized the importance of standing strong in the red zone and what it can do for a team. 

“I think that we can be a really good red zone team,” he said. “That’s one of the statistics that you want to be top of the league at, red zone defense.”

Jaire Alexander, who stuck to the Vikings receivers all game, was confident in the defense’s emergence through these first two games.

“This is a really good defense. This is a really good secondary at that. We’re just putting people on notice.”

That really good defense limited Kirk Cousins to 14 completions for 230 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions, giving him a quarterback rating of 52.9. 

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had plenty of praise for his defense once again after Week 2, but he pointed out Alexander and King specifically as players on the rise.

“I think the thing that separates them from other corner tandems is the football IQ. Just understanding route concepts, break points, and tendencies,” he said. “And the best guys we’ve had here, in my opinion, with Tramon and the two other really stud guys we had, Al Harris and Charles Woodson, were the best at that.”

Another defensive tandem making waves for their performance? Za’Darius and Preston Smith, who continue to address the media together after games.

“We’re young and we’re talented. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team that want to have fun and do their job,” said Za’Darius.

“When we play like us and we play to our level we know we can play to, we’re damn-near unstoppable,” said Preston.

Their quarterback has noticed the impact both Smiths have had already, too, both on and off the field. 

“Just the whole energy of the building is different I think and those two are a big part of it and Billy is a big part of it and Adrian is a big part of it, and the second-year guys growing up is a big part of it, and Marcedes coming back is a big part of it, and Jimmy’s presence is a big part of it,” said Rodgers. 

“It’s a lot closer-knit group than we’ve had in years past, I give Brian and his staff and everybody buying into Matt’s system the credit for that.”

Rodgers isn’t taken the defense for granted, either, highlighting that the offense hasn’t played up to their standards yet this season.

“We put them in a couple tough spots the last two weeks. That’s why I was proud of our guys getting a couple first downs on that last drive,” he said. 

“Kevin with a big pick in the end zone. Preston had a deflection pick. The ball was out a number of times. When we’ve been at our best over the years on defense, we’ve been a very opportunistic, turnover machine-type of defense. It’s shaping up that way for sure with those guys.”

LaFleur was asked about that turnover-machine defense and what he thought about the group celebration after Preston’s deflection interception. 

“This is their team,” he said, emphasizing that the coaches have always preached that the team belongs to the players. He described the defensive unit as a connected one, and it showed in the post-game photos.

“Talk about two, grind it out games that are going to come down to the end, and I thought our guys continue to stay together. And that’s what we keep preaching to them,” said LaFleur. “I think there’s a lot of character in that locker room. I’m really proud of those guys.”

Naturally, the television cameras caught LaFleur and Rodgers exchanging words on the sideline after a poor offensive series. When both men were asked about the dialogue, they shrugged it off. 

“Two competitive guys, and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last one we have,” said LaFleur on the disagreement. “You want guys that are extreme competitors, and that’s what he is.”

“I just want to make sure he and I are on the same page, we’re calling things that he feels comfortable with. If he feels confident in it, it has a lot better chance of working.” 

During a defensive series, LaFleur went as far as to sit on the bench with Rodgers to break everything down. He acknowledged his comfort with Mike Pettine calling the shots on defense that allowed him to have that opportunity with Rodgers, citing Pettine’s previous head coaching experience as a benefit in that situation. 

Rodgers also indicated it was something new for him to have his head coach sitting down next to him during the game. 

Both men are hypercompetitive and understand that the defense has been the star of the show these last two games, and both men are determined to correct the offense’s struggles in the coming weeks. 

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement all across the board,” said LaFleur. 

Rodgers did feel that the team looked good in spurts, but the goal now is sustained success. “I think we’ve had a couple good quarters out of eight. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Center Corey Linsley agreed. “I think that there’s obviously a lot to build off of and if we can sustain this for four quarters, we’re going to be a dangerous team.” 

He went on to acknowledge that sustained success is a struggle for every NFL team. 

Overall, though, the team is still confident with the men in the locker room, and wins don’t come easy in the National Football League. The Packers have two under their belt already to go with their new team chemistry and confidence.

“Any time you win a division game, especially against a quality opponent like the Minnesota Vikings, you can never take that for granted,” said LaFleur. 

On the record, Rodgers was straightforward. 

“2,0, and 2-0 in the division,” he said. “Last year I believe we won one in the division. We’re on the right track there.” 

“We’re 2-0 right now baby,” said a smiling Za’Darius Smith. 

The 2-0 Packers stay home on Sunday to face off against the 0-2 Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field.

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (26)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lare's picture

September 17, 2019 at 03:42 pm

Everyone is flying high right now, but there's always bumps in the road throughout an NFL season. The key will be to see them still flying high when those bumps occur. As always, control the line of scrimmage, hold on to the ball, don't beat yourself.

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LakeshorePackerBacker's picture

September 17, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Just wanted to say great job on the redesign of the site. I'm really impressed with how it looks and functions. #GoPackGo!

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sam1's picture

September 17, 2019 at 04:09 pm

It sucks to high heaven!

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Lare's picture

September 17, 2019 at 05:52 pm

Looks nice, but it doesn't pay to reply to original posts anymore as no one will ever see them.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 17, 2019 at 07:39 pm

If that were true, you wouldn't be reading this right now.

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CoachJV's picture

September 17, 2019 at 09:41 pm

I don't know... I love the new look, but I don't like the collapsed threads. It's tidy, but not as user friendly. Can you possibly leave everything in the new look but expand the threads?

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Turophile's picture

September 18, 2019 at 03:15 am

I'll second that and agree that replies count for little these days. Threads should not be 'semi'collapsed'.

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dobber's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

Patently false, Al. There's only so much some people are going to do.

Speaking only for myself, I already spend less time here as a result of the redesign (maybe that, in and of itself, makes the site better?). The content and conversation go together. This format is inhibiting one of the two.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 18, 2019 at 01:32 pm

I'm hearing what lots of you are saying. I'm going to look into how we can address this.

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dobber's picture

September 18, 2019 at 01:55 pm

Much appreciated.

You have a cadre of registered users and might be able to use a quick survey to find out what aspects or functionalities of the site are most attractive and most important to them.

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Guam's picture

September 18, 2019 at 07:13 am

I got lots of down votes for praising the new look too. People don't like the collapsed threads, but I think there are some advantages. Too often people just respond before reading other comments that say the same thing they are going to say, but later on. This format helps reduce the extraneous repetition.

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CoachJV's picture

September 17, 2019 at 04:49 pm

The cohesion that the D is showing is going to be contagious. The D is having fun, they're confident, cocky but not arrogant, and their play is backing everything they say.

The squad photo after P. Smith's pick shows a great swagger. Very similar to the swagger we had during the last Superbowl year.Sooner or later, (hopefully sooner) the Offense is going to want to be a part of something like that. They're gonna see the D kicking ass and taking names, and they're gonna want a piece too.

THEN, and only then, will they gel. Only then will they decide to step it up.

Now, I'm gonna get some thumbs down for what I'm about to say, but with the D being the focal point and getting all the glory, ARod will step up... because he doesn't wanna be outdone. And when Arod DECIDES to be good again, watch out!!!

Go Pack Go!

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2019 at 12:11 am

The D Invested in better players. The offense has All-Pro bookend tackles an All_pro level WR, an Ascending A.Jones and Rodgers. Gutekunst I would assume, realizes the WR corps has to be enhance. I am still a big fan of Lazard and Shepherd replacing the current long-legs with no shimmy behind Adams. Let it rip.

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CoachJV's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:08 pm

It's not the receivers... it's Arod. I hate to say it, but he just isn't interested in being the best right now. And his play shows it...

MVS is good enough to be #2 and will only get better. In fact, he's already playing better than Adams did in year 2. Adams had the drops in year 2.

No, this is Arod not WANTING it bad enough.

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CoachJV's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:08 pm

It's not the receivers... it's Arod. I hate to say it, but he just isn't interested in being the best right now. And his play shows it...

MVS is good enough to be #2 and will only get better. In fact, he's already playing better than Adams did in year 2. Adams had the drops in year 2.

No, this is Arod not WANTING it bad enough.

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4thand1's picture

September 17, 2019 at 04:51 pm

Kenny Clark is really really good. He may end up with 12 to 15 sacks.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 18, 2019 at 12:11 am

Extend that contract now. He will only get more expensive.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 17, 2019 at 06:55 pm

Yes Clark is really good. But I worry about the number of snaps he is getting. It’s good that he is young and healthy but I think that last year we had to overuse him. I like that we eased King into the lineup after his injuries. Jenkins getting eased in to the lineup is good and may be useful down the road. A Jones seems to be holding up to increased reps well with his new body type. Balugia seems to be doing better with his extra rest during the week.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 18, 2019 at 12:13 am

Maybe we will see Keke in the D-line rotation soon. First 2 games he has been inactive.

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Bure9620's picture

September 18, 2019 at 06:08 am

Ya Lancaster got some work to lower his snaps

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Samson's picture

September 17, 2019 at 07:30 pm

Great synopsis of the game, Maggie.... Love all the direct quotes from the players... Helps fans to truly understand what the players are thinking.

My early prediction against the Broncos... The Broncos won't want to return to Lambeau anytime soon after the a$$ kick'in the Pack will put on them Sunday.... Season 2019 will only get better. --- Book it!

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Bure9620's picture

September 18, 2019 at 06:06 am

This new format is giving me vertigo

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PackfanNY's picture

September 18, 2019 at 07:38 am

Wins within the division obviously have more importance. What makes it even better is that both teams have very good defenses.
The Packer offense clearly was and is going to need time to come together as we all figured this is a new coach and a new system. So to get these wins, I think, will give the offense some confidence that this will all come together. I also think Denver will present more defensive challenges. Not sure we will face three stronger defenses in succession the rest of the season. Eager to see how the Pack plays against the Broncos.

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Packer Fan's picture

September 18, 2019 at 08:07 am

The Pack should have been 2-0 last year against the same components except for the sack fiasco. The year is long. Will the Pack get better. Keeping the defense playing well and getting a lot better on offense. It didn't happen last year, getting better and the year spiraled out of control. I see something different this year. The defense is playing well. There is a positive atmosphere. I believe Rodgers and the offense will get better. Yes, there will be more difficult times and injuries. But I have a positive outlook for this year. Go Pack.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 18, 2019 at 10:54 am

Imagine our collective anguish if we did not have the defense that we have this year. I am soooo happy that we do and are 2-0. Yet our offense has yet to take off. Something is amiss. Yet there is still time.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

September 18, 2019 at 12:45 pm

I'm fine with the offense evolving slowly. Look at the Bears last year. They started with a bang, emptying the bag of tricks, and by the end of the season defenses had them figured out. I expect to see a couple new looks and concepts each week, as well as new wrinkles on plays. This should help the offense focus on execution, and allow for a couple late season unscouted looks.

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